Would you be brave enough to do this family-friendly activity in New Zealand?

Would you be brave enough to do this family-friendly activity in New Zealand?

If you're looking for fun, family-friendly things to do in New Zealand, you have to add Downhill Ball Rolling at Zorb Rotorua to your adventure list.

*Note: We were hosted by Zorb Rotorua for this experience but my thoughts on the experience are my own.

If you've never heard of this wild activity, here's how it goes: You hop into a giant, inflatable ball, they add a tiny amount of water to the ball and zip it up, then you're pushed down a hill. As the ball rolls down, you slip and slide all around in the ball. Once you get to the bottom, you get to hop out and get driven right back up the hill to do it again.

As we pulled into the parking lot, you see giant balls being carried up a chairlift-like structure, and a huge, green hill with different courses. My kids didn't even wait for us as we got out of the car and raced over to the ticket building, they were so excited. There's a few different options to choose from with ticketing varying from two, three, or four rides. And if you want to add on one more ride at the end, they have single ride tickets too.

The tracks have a good range of thrill in them, so we decided to start on the smallest one. It was a straight shot track where you could race another ball. Me and Henry hopped in one and the two big kids were in the other. They put a mat on the ball opening and you do a superman dive into it (or a floppy fish wriggle, depending on if you get stuck or not haha!). They add water into the ball so that you're able to slide around.

That first ride, we had no idea what to expect so when we started rolling, it was a major thrill. You slip and slide around and sometimes spin and end up rolling backwards, but for the most part, you are always upright, never rolling upside down. It almost took our breath away from laughing so much! It was such a different experience than we've ever done. 

The other runs got even more thrilling and more exciting. The sidewinder track was the kids' favorite- you roll up and down the track as you zig zag back and forth. And their MEGA track was one of the fastest, most thrilling rides. You absolutely fly down the hill in a steep, straight line. You're rolling so fast in the ball, it definitely gave us all a thrill.

Check out this video of our experience here:


Zorb Rotorua was one of the most wild, unique experiences we did in New Zealand. When we were looking into fun activities to do in New Zealand, this was high on my kids' "must-do" list (and mine too, honestly!). And after we finished, my kids asked if we could move to New Zealand just so they could do this on a weekly basis. It's definitely an activity not to miss on your next trip to Rotorua, New Zealand.

How long does it take? 
We were there about an hour and a half to do our three rides (plus a few more and some time in the hot tub)

What do you do in between rides?
The "waiting area" at the bottom of the hill is all set up with everything you need. There's changing rooms, showers, bathrooms, towels if you forgot one, hot tubs, heaters to keep you warm on a cool day, and even a sauna. You can sit down here and hang out (this is a great spot for littler kids like George who aren't old enough to Zorb) or take the shuttle van back to the top of the hill for the next ride. There's also hot tubs at the top of the hill before each track.

Is it scary?
No, it's more thrilling than scary. I mean, there were definitely times I was scared for a second! But it was more of a butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling. For kids, it might feel a bit scary if they aren't comfortable with water splashing in their face. When you're rolling in the ball, you don't flip, but water does splash in your face (especially on the bigger tracks). If your child is nervous about water, I'd bring goggles for them. 

Does rolling in the ball make you feel sick or claustrophobic?
You get zipped into the ball. It's big enough for three adults to fit in, so it is a generous sized space, but if you don't like being in enclosed spaces, you might want to wait at the bottom.

What if we're traveling to New Zealand in winter?
This is the coolest part (no pun intended)- in the winter, they have the hot tubs, saunas, and heaters running in the waiting area, and they put warm water in the ball, so you're good to go in any weather.

 Booking your experience:
Head to zorb.com to check out the different ticket options and to book your experience. Your whole family will love it!

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